ZOA Praises Presidents’ Conference For Urging Justice Dept. to Investigate Alleged Fundraising for Terrorist Group Hamas at
January 21, 2010

Also Praises Reps. Sherman

and Myrick and ADL


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praises the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the solicitation of funds for a group called Viva Palestina at a Muslim Student Union event at the University of California, Irvine on May 21, 2009, and whether those funds were provided to the terrorist group Hamas.  In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Alan P. Solow and Malcolm Hoenlein – the Chairman and Executive Vice Chairman, respectively, of the Presidents’ Conference – said, “We strongly support an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether funds solicited were provided to Hamas, which has been designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.  Federal law prohibits furnishing material support or resources to U.S.-designated terrorist groups like Hamas.”


On May 21, 2009, a registered student group at UC Irvine called the Muslim Student Union featured extremist British politician and Israel-basher George Galloway, who spoke about his group called Viva Palestina and the convoys of supply-filled vehicles that the group was bringing into Gaza.  This program was part of the annual Israel-bashing event that the Muslim Student Union sponsors on campus, this one entitled “Israel: The Politics of Genocide.”


There is evidence that at the event, funds were solicited from the audience for Viva Palestina.  There is additional evidence – including a 31-page report about Viva Palestina prepared by terrorism experts at Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism – that Viva Palestina’s goal is not charitable but to provide support to Hamas.  In fact, during the March 2009 Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza, Galloway stated, “This is not charity.  This is politics.”


U.S. Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC), the founder of the bipartisan congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, further documented Viva Palestina’s links to the terrorist group Hamas and recently called on the U.S. Treasury Department to “swiftly take action to designate Viva Palestina as a supporter of a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and thus prevent this group from continuing to provide material and/or financial aid to Hamas.” In her letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Congresswoman Myrick wrote that Viva Palestina “held more than 20 fundraisers in cities throughout the United States between April and June 2009.  Galloway traveled around the country and spoke at most of the fundraisers, some held at college campuses.  A fundraiser on July 2nd 2009 in Kansas City raised $103,000 in a single evening.  That night Galloway also claimed to have raised $2 million for the convoy in the U.S.


U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, recently called on Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman to investigate Galloway, Viva Palestina, and an entity called the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizations/Pastors for Peace (apparently a conduit for the receipt of funds for Viva Palestina) , to determine whether they have been soliciting funds for Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.  Congressman Sherman has also urged UC Irvine’s Chancellor, Dr. Michael V. Drake, to thoroughly investigate the Muslim Student Union’s Galloway/Viva Palestina event, and to keep him apprised of the investigation’s status. 


Calling the evidence of fundraising “alarming,” Congressman Sherman said, “I believe your investigation will confirm that the UCI MSU [Muslim Student Union] has solicited funds for a terrorist organization (or knowingly aided and abetted such solicitation).  After you confirm these facts, I believe you will, at a minimum, prevent the MSU from operating on campus unless and until its leadership is purged of those responsible.”


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has also expressed concern.  In a letter to the Attorney General, the ADL urged the Justice Department to investigate whether Viva Palestina has been raising funds “for the purpose of providing material support to Hamas.” 


The ZOA furnished evidence about the solicitation of funds for Viva Palestina at UC Irvine and its support of Hamas to the university and to federal law enforcement officials.  In response, UC Irvine says that it has referred the matter to law enforcement and initiated its own internal review.


On behalf of the Presidents’ Conference, Alan P. Solow and Malcolm Hoenlein informed Attorney General Holder that “[w]e write in support of the University of California Irvine’s call for an investigation into the solicitation of funds for Viva Palestina on its campus in May 2009. . . . Consistent with our country’s commitment to fighting international terrorism at home and abroad, the Justice Department should ensure that our anti-terrorism laws are not being violated and that our college campuses are not being used to promote or support terrorist groups.”


The ZOA’s National President, Morton A. Klein, echoed these sentiments and commended the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for speaking out in favor of a federal investigation:  “The ZOA strongly praises the Presidents’ Conference for urging that the Justice Department investigate what occurred at the Muslim Student Union event at which funds were solicited for Viva Palestina, and whether UC Irvine was used as a base for fundraising for the terrorist group Hamas.  We also praise Congressman Brad Sherman, Congresswoman Sue Myrick, and the ADL for their efforts on this issue.  Particularly now, when we are facing danger from terrorists and terrorist groups around the world, including right here in our own country, law enforcement officials must thoroughly investigate all incidents where there is any evidence that groups or individuals are promoting or supporting terrorist groups like Hamas.” 

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